The Russian Defense Ministry has reported that the Russian warship Moskva has sunk after suffering “serious damage” in an explosion in the Black Sea whose causes are yet to be determined and while Ukraine claims responsibility for a missile attack.
What happened to the Russian ship Moskva and why is it important for Russia and Ukraine
“During the towing of the Moskva cruiser to the port of destination, the ship lost its stability due to damage to the hull caused during the fire by the detonation of ammunition. In a stormy sea, the ship sank,” says the military department in a statement picked up by Russian state media.
The Russian Defense Ministry previously said that a fire on the ammunition-laden ship caused an explosion. Russia claimed that the flagship of its Black Sea fleet has suffered “serious damage” although the “crew was evacuated.” Russia has so far given no further information on the cause of the fire and says it is being “investigated”.
Initially, the Russian ministry assured that the ship was afloat despite the damage, that most of its arsenal of 16 missiles was safe and that it was being towed to the port of Sevastopol.
Although Russia has not mentioned that the cause of the explosion was an attack by the Ukrainian Army, Maksim Marchenko, governor of the Odessa port region, has assured that the Moskva was hit by two cruise missiles of the “Neptune” type manufactured by Russia. ukrainianhas reported on Telegram.
As reported by Forbes, Neptune missiles are stealthy and guided by radar. They can reach ships at a distance of up to 280 km.
Before the Russian statement about the sinking, the Operational Command South (OC South) of the Ground Forces of Ukraine said on facebook that, after the missile impact, the Moskva was severely damaged and the explosions from its arsenal reached the Russian rescue ships that were trying to approach. The Ukrainian Army added that the storm surge “overturned the ship” and it “began to sink.”
Alexei Arestovich, adviser to the Ukrainian president, stated that there were “510 crew members” on board the ship and that a storm complicated the work of extinguishing the fire. Arestovich shared a video on Twitter where he assures that the moment of the missile attack from Ukraine on the Russian ship is captured. In it, Ukrainian soldiers are heard joking about the impact.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has said in an interview on MSNBC that at the moment the US has not been able to verify any of these versions and that they have only been able to corroborate that “a fairly large explosion occurred” based on the images they have been able to observe. “There was an explosion, but we don’t know what caused this explosion,” he added.
Sources from the US Department of Defense explained to the media that on the deck of this type of vessel there are usually flammable elements that can cause a fire or explosions, such as fuel, ammunition or artillery pieces: “It could have been the result of an attack with a missile, it could have been something else.”
Without confirming that the explosion was caused by a Ukrainian projectile, US Defense does confirm that at the distance that the Moskva was from the coast, it would be within the range of the Ukrainian Neptune missiles.
A flagship of the Russian Navy; a symbol for Ukraine
The Russian navy cruiser Moskva was its flagship and is a considerable loss for Russia at a key moment in the offensive in Ukraine. She was strategically positioned in the Black Sea at the beginning of the invasion to lead the naval assault. Loaded with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, she had enough weaponry to crush the Ukrainian resistance.
Russian news agencies note that the 12,500-tonne Moskva was armed with 16 cruise missiles with a range of at least 700 km.
According to Forbes, the Moskva joined the Russian Navy in 1982. In addition to missiles, it was equipped with anti-aircraft weapons and torpedoes.
After being used in the invasion of Crimea in 2014, it was deployed on the Syrian coast to support Russian troops. In 2016, it underwent an overhaul and refurbishment, which extended its useful life for another ten years.
Russia’s navy has launched cruise missiles at Ukraine from the Black Sea and its ships are crucial in supporting ground operations in the south of the country, where the fight for control of Mariupol and other eastern Donbass continues.
The Moskva became a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance a day after the Russian invasion began. A military attack from the ship targeted soldiers who were defending an islet in the Black Sea, known as Serpent Island, which is 40 kilometers from NATO territory.
The Ukrainian detachment faced threats from the Russian navy, which even warned them that if they did not lay down their arms they would be bombed. “Russian warship, go to hell.” It was the response of the Ukrainian officer who took the floor.
The phrase has become something of a catchphrase, appearing on T-shirts, billboards, and road signs. The Ukrainian government has also released a commemorative stamp showing a soldier combing the Russian ship.
Source: ElDiario.es – ElDiario.es by www.eldiario.es.
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